U.S. homeownership rate back to 1998 level
The U.S. homeownership rate continues to decline as the housing bubble deflates further, new Census Bureau data show.
And the rate is falling fastest in the West.
The national homeownership rate -- the proportion of households that is owner-occupied -- fell to 66.5% in the fourth quarter, down from 67.2% a year earlier and the sixth straight annual decline.
That puts the rate back where it was in 1998 and down from the all-time high of 69.2% in 2004.
In the foreclosure-ridden Western states, the homeownership rate fell to 61.0% in the fourth quarter from 62.3% a year earlier. That drop of 1.3 percentage points was the largest among the country’s four regions.
The new rates for the three other regions: South, 68.5%, down from 69.1% a year ago; Midwest, 70.5% versus 71.3%; and Northeast, 64.1%, a slight increase from 63.9%.
-- Tom Petruno